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To Combat HIV, Sub-Saharan Africa Must Strengthen Its Data Management Systems

March 6, 2017

Program directors don't value the investment in data management enough. Compared to the cost of annual treatment, the investment made in simple in-house systems, mobile data collection platforms and data transmission platforms would be a small cost.

-- Ian Sanne, M.B.B.Ch.

In an interview on behalf of IFARA at CROI 2017, Kevin Fisher spoke with Ian Sanne and Kevin De Cock about HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. The starting point for reaching the World Health Organization's 90-90-90 goals is to reach key populations, such as adolescents and sex workers, for HIV testing. One approach for accomplishing this is self-testing; another is to offer HIV testing where such groups congregate.

When people test positive for HIV, the likelihood that they will start to take antiretrovirals is significantly improved if treatment can begin as soon as their diagnosis is confirmed. In the best case, that treatment would include newer integrase inhibitors such as dolutegravir (Tivicay, DTG) to prevent drug resistance. However, switching an entire country's initial treatment regimen is difficult, if possible at all.

While viral load testing during treatment has been ramped up in sub-Saharan Africa, test results often don't reach the person who was tested or his or her medical provider. Data management and communication systems must be strengthened in resource-poor countries to allow laboratory results to be returned for effective management of a variety of medical issues, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Watch the video to learn more:

About the panelists:

  • Kevin Fisher, J.D., M.Sc., AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, moderator.
  • Ian Sanne, M.B.B.Ch., FCP (SA), FRCP, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University of the Witwatersrand; Right to Care and AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Kevin De Cock, M.D., FRCP, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nairobi, Kenya.

The video above has been posted on with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.

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This article was provided by TheBodyPRO. It is a part of the publication The 24th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

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